Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A New Chapter! Life is an Amazing Journey!!

Here is the recent article I wrote for the January 2016 issue of The Courier (arriving on doorsteps shortly!). This is the last issue I will work on as associate editor for I am "retiring" from that position! See below:

"This is my last month working on The Courier as the Associate Editor and I want to say thank you. Thank you for sharing your stories and answering my questions. Thank you for being patient and understanding. Thank you for your reminders and corrections. Thank you for reading our diocesan paper, for allowing us to bring the news and the faith into your home. Thank you for the letters and emails from so many of you that found an article or issue inspiring or thought-provoking so much that you were moved to write me. Those were the moments that kept me going! You have been so kind to me!
~ our boys ~
"I’m “retiring” as Associate Editor to pursue two other interwoven passions. The most important: raising our six sons. I have a renewed sense of love in motherhood; it is a love that is counter-intuitive. Ordinarily when we think of giving away, we then think of having nothing left. If my ten year old has three Lego hobbit figures and I make him share all three with his brother, he will have none left. Yet, love is so different! When we give ourselves away in Christ-like love, God renews us more abundantly! Instead of having nothing left, we have even more love than we started with! If we put Christ at the center of our lives, He never allows us to go dry – there is always more love to give. And I have found that the most fulfilling moments come just after you’ve decided to act in love beyond what you thought humanly possible (like when it is 3 o’clock in the morning and a child is calling out – happy are my nights when the name is “daddy” instead!). You pull out your hair, bang your head on the wall, throw your hands up in the air – but then you decide to love. And God blesses and transforms you through that love.
Maryvale Institute in England!
"The second reason is that after a ten year, six babies hiatus, I have a chance to complete my graduate studies in Theology, Marriage & Family through the Maryvale Institute! Please pray for me! I have enjoyed getting to know you and working with the Diocese of Winona, and we’ll still be around! If you would like to stay in touch, please follow my blog: where I will be sharing our journeys and adventures. For all questions, submissions, and comments about The Courier, please email and it will get to the right person. 
God bless you!"

My youngest bundle (9 month old #brighteyes) and I will depart for England on January 11th! I am so blessed beyond measure to have this opportunity and my "love tank" is full! Do you want to know what the face of NEW feminism really looks like? Look at my husband and the thousands of husbands across the world who support their wives with love, encouragement and respect. New feminism is elevating woman because of her femininity not over its destruction. And this goes hand in hand with the elevation of men in their great masculine dignity as well. We walk hand in hand for a better future of compassion, respect and love.

I'll be using this blog more frequently again - so be sure to follow if you want to stay connected! 
Our adventure awaits! 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Jupiter Ascending vs Planned Parenthood - reality or science fiction?

Did you get a chance to see the recent sci-fi movie Jupiter Ascending this year? A little cheesy, but still interesting and easy on the eyes for everyone with stars Channing Tatum & Mila Kunis. It was a not quite to the fantastic level, but nearly and with recent events, it keeps coming back to mind.

**Spoiler Alert**
So in the movie, an average girl (named Jupiter) finds out she has the same genetic code as a human who was born 19,000 years ago, but who died only within the last century. The story explains that human beings actually originated from a planet far away and only “seeded” the Earth with humans. It was almost time for harvest.
Jupiter did not understand what they meant, but one woman showed her a pool, which seemed like a fountain of youth. You go into this liquid and your body regenerates to a young twenty-something age. Later a man showed her a large room full of capsules with the glowing liquid. The man speaks to her about this fountain of youth.
He begins to explain how they discovered that human beings hold the key to our own immortality. So they seek an appropriate planet, seed it and after a few thousand years, just when it reaches full population, they harvest.
She looks confused and he handed her a capsule to hold. He tells her she can be young and completely healthy forever with this liquid. Still confused he says, “it takes the harvest of 100 human lives to make the liquid of one capsule.” She gasps, realizing what she is holding. Horrified, she struggles for breath. He keeps explaining how they harvest a planet, going in and taking the humans to extract what they need. She staggers backwards and drops the capsule; it bursts on the ground and she apologizes over and over.
**Real Spoiler Alert**
Long story short - She gains control over the Earth and saves all the people of Earth from extermination. She sees their lives having value – more than being harvested to keep a small number of humans alive for thousands of years.

Hmmmm ... So, we have this recent movie; it grips you; you are horrified too (how could they kill all those people for the sake of their eternal health?); you cheer for Jupiter and she saves the humans with great triumph!

Isn't it interesting that our culture can produce such a movie and yet be blind to the reality right in front of us? Our society allows companies, such as Planned Parenthood, to murder humans and then make themselves feel better by donating the baby parts to research companies. A counter-protestor who came to our local #WomenBetrayed rally in Rochester, MN was Rep. Tina Liebling. She was quoted in one article as saying, “In fact, a lot of the discoveries that save lives and improve lives do come from the use of fetal tissue in research.”

And tell me again how this movie is science fiction? So society tells us we can enjoy the health benefits and not worry that they can at the price of of human lives? And not even for eternal health but "potential health benefits"?

It is horrific. It is not acceptable. Enough is enough.
#anotherboy #DefundPP #WomenBetrayed

Friday, July 10, 2015

shorts too small

The most interesting conversation happened between myself and my eldest son (now ten years old). We were folding clothes when he found a hand-me-down pair of black shorts and said, "no one wants to wear these anymore because the tag says women's."
I checked it out; sure enough! "Women's line" written right there. "Well, maybe I'll hang on to them and use them after I lose this baby weight."

To which he said, "they look kind of small."
I laughed again, "well, look at our wedding photo there. I used to be small before I had six crazy boys!"
He sat up tall and grinned a wide, confident grin. "You're welcome!" He said and seemed so proud to have been part of such a fine endeavor. He then kissed my cheek and went to put his clothes away.
He is not burdened by the social constructs and expectations that I heap upon myself. If only I could see myself through his eyes!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


It's the little things …

This little beauty came in with the boys and couldn't find its way out again. It kept banging into the window. The screen doesn't open on this window, so I had to coax it away long enough to close the blinds and block the view. When it couldn't see the outside, it went crazy. It flew through the room so frantically that it kept crashing into things.
Finally, it flew towards the door which we opened and, much to the cat's dismay who was eyeing it as a plaything, away it went to freedom.

How often do we bang against closed windows in our own lives?

And when the blinds come down we think all is lost.

Perhaps God is just being mercifully redirecting us to a greater life?

Something to think about when we can't break through and the darkness comes down … there is always hope.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Oh My. Mommy Guilt. WTH, self?

We’ve all heard the term “mommy guilt”. It usually refers to feeling bad about our mothering choices, right? Whether it’s the sadness of leaving the children to go to work or wondering whether we’ve prepared them well for school to whether we are taking good enough care of them, there always seems to be little layers of mommy guilt here and there. Yet, it almost is mentioned in a playful sort of way – like a little tug of the heartstrings that we can all relate to and get a chuckle out of.
I consider myself a pretty tough gal. I never thought I let mommy guilt bother me much, but gosh, you guys, I just have to share this with you! I was just freed of a mommy guilt I didn’t even know I had held onto so long. And it was in there deep, ladies, I mean – really, mega, entrenched in the soul deep. And now its gone! And it all happened because my dear husband took my 3rd son to the doctor. But let me give you some background first…
In 2008, my sweet third baby was induced early because they feared I had pre-eclampsia. It was a brutal labor with Pitocin and extremely long. When he was born, I only got to see him for a minute and then he was whisked away to the NICU because his lungs were having trouble transitioning. I was in a whirlwind of confusion. In the recovery room I passed massive blood clots (size of footballs – insane – the bathroom looked like a warzone), I called for the nurse. She came in all annoyed that I was bugging her, but her mood quickly changed when she saw all. the. blood. She got to work and I got even more pitocin. I was NOT a happy camper. I’m pretty sure I cried through that entire next hour.
In the midst of the blood drama – I get a call from a NICU nurse berating me for not pumping well enough and not coming to see my child. I felt so awful. My husband had gone back home to check with the sitter and the other children. No one had come in to offer to wheel me over there. No one had even offered me consolation on what was happening to him there. And yet, she goes on and on reprimanding me. Well, they did then get me over to him and we had our time together and soon he was well enough to come home with me.
Then the pediatric doctor said I wasn’t nursing him right because he wasn’t gaining enough weight (he was only 1 week old at this point) and I needed to nurse him better. Nice. That always helps a worried new mama – judgment.
He started to gain, but we had such difficulty nursing. And he seemed never very interested. I had this feeling then that he did not need me or did not want me – I knew it was silly, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had let him down at birth and created a distanced feeling between us. I pumped a little for my working hours, but after three months I let my husband feed him a bottle of formula milk when I wasn’t there. I was so stressed about his older brother’s illness too that the pumping just wasn’t happening. He later became my only child who actually weaned himself and at nine months (all my others nursed at least a year). And I connected it all back to not being there for him when he was in NICU. And then, even though so many people said it wasn’t my fault, I guess I just ignored the feeling and it settled down, deep down in my heart.
Back to my husband taking this now 6 year old to the doctor. He went in for an ear ache but asked about his tongue. He weirdly couldn’t lick his lips and we didn’t know if it was neurological or physical or what.
As it turns out, he is “tongue tied” and we just never knew it. Now, when the pediatrician asked my husband if there was any trouble nursing him, he said not, not that he remembered, but – ah – I remember.
I was in my bedroom when my husband was filling me in on the phone. It should have been diagnosed right away by the baby’s pediatrician, but never was. It can cause much difficulty in nursing and most doctors can easily snip it when the baby is a newborn.
As he was talking all those memories came rushing back with a vengeance and rewriting themselves, letting me see it all in a different light. I wasn’t a bad mother! I wasn't neglecting him by nursing incorrectly! I hadn’t created some cosmic rift between us because I didn’t rush down to the NICU. He just physically couldn’t nurse without extreme effort – so that’s why he never seemed interested. It was too dang hard.
I startled my self (and my poor husband) by sobbing uncontrollably as I held the phone. But those tears were good, cleansing tears. Releasing six years of compounded mommy guilt. Just. letting. it. all. go…
Sheesh! How silly I am!

all my boys. #3 is second from the right. :-) Happy as can be!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

When I Had an Epidural, I Never Expected this to Happen

"I am definitely not an “everyone should go natural” advocate, however. Far from it. I was, though, less compassionate in my mind to those who chose to have an epidural, silently cheering their “easy way out” and slightly jealous, though confident in my own choice. Yet, with my sixth born son, because of a failure to progress, a need to use Pitocin (which I had experienced the torture of previously), and my anxiety raising, I chose to take the epidural. The experience was not what I expected. At. All. ..."

Read the rest at The Guiding Star Project.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

7 Lessons about Motherhood by our Blessed Mother

(officially back from maternity leave! So, this is a tad late, but even though it's not Mother's Day, May is the month of mothers - so it's all good, right? Originally posted in The Courier, reposted with permission. Here's my article for Mother's Day! …)

As we spend time this month reflecting on the Queen of heaven and earth, we beg her for her intercession and assistance in being the children of God that we were made to be. She is a model for all women, and reflects the beauty of God through her life. Since this is the month to also honor our earthly mothers, what can we learn from Mary, from her humble and passionate life, about motherhood? Women, especially mothers, are one of the most self-critical groups of people. If we only knew the true standard by which to measure ourselves, our lives would be more peaceful, more hopeful, more full of grace and love.

1. You will make mistakes and it’s okay.

Mary was without sin, and on the way back from the Temple for Passover, she could not find Jesus, not for a few minutes but for a few days! She and St. Joseph did find him eventually and all ended well.
How often do mothers beat themselves up with every little mistake they make? One forgetful moment or miscommunication and they take themselves into an internal mental lashing at how awful they are at this mothering thing. Yet, through Mary’s example, we can see that it is okay. No, you are not perfect. God did not make you perfect; however, He did give you everything you need to be the best mom for your children! We must learn to love ourselves and be at peace even with our mistakes, having faith that God made you a mother and He does not make mistakes!

2. Motherhood is risky; mothers are courageous.

When Mary said "yes!” to God, she took a great risk. She didn’t know what her own mother would say, what Joseph would think or how the people in her town might react. God asked her to accept new life and she said "yes!” She knew the risks and yet trusted in our Lord.
When a woman is open to life, she says yes to our Lord. Pregnancy is not easy. For some women, it is even quite risky. Also, raising a new child takes a risk. You do not know what will happen in this child’s life or if illness will come or if tragedy will strike. Yet, God asks a woman to be open to life. It’s okay to have a little fear; you are not alone. You show great courage just by accepting motherhood! Yet, when we trust God, He always provides for us.

3. It’s not about what you can do, but how deeply you love.

Our society speaks often of "having it all.” A woman, they say, can "have it all!” She can be a mom, have a career and do whatever her heart desires. She just has to work a little harder and put on that SuperMom cape. Yet, this creates a different focus of motherhood than Mary teaches. The SuperMom cape mentality focuses only on the mother and all she can do.
A holy motherhood focuses on both mother and child and their relationship. It is not bound to what she can accomplish, but is rooted in how deeply she loves her child. This love is a gift of self to her child. In the Gospels, Mary doesn’t draw attention to herself, but through her love, her life points always to her Son. This is not a false humility of lowering oneself, but an honest, simple humility of immense love. The joy that rises from such love shines so much brighter than any SuperMom cape we could create.

4. It’s healthy to let go.

After reading this passage in scripture, "And it was reported to Him, 'Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.' But He answered and said to them, 'My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.'" (Luke 8:20-21), one might think Jesus was very rude to His mother. Mary would have every right to feel slighted or annoyed at how He seemed to dismiss her without even a second thought. She was His mother after all! Yet, Mary knew that she had to let Him go. As a man, His life extended beyond her.
We raise our children to be strong, confident, independent adults. There might be a temptation to create an environment where that grown child will always need you, but this only makes them weak.
Allowing them to grow up, may be one of the most difficult elements of motherhood, and can even be quite an emotionally painful transition. Yet, as a well-adjusted woman or son of God, your child will have more respect and love for you. The more you empty yourself in love at every stage of motherhood, the more God can fill you!

5. It’s okay to admit that you can’t do this alone.

You need God; you need your husband; you need others. Again, our society is extremely autonomously focused. You can do it! You can achieve it! Yet, real love is the giving of self; it involves a communion of persons. Mary didn’t receive her orders from God and ride alone into the sunset to bring the Savior to the world. She depended on her mother, St. Anne; on St. Joseph; and she raised Jesus in her Jewish community.
Mothers (indeed all people) need to learn again how to ask for help and how to accept it. You don’t need to take on every challenge alone! Holy motherhood is not isolated but connected. God has placed people in our lives who are willing to help us on this journey, if we but let them!

6. Mothers give life and love, but they must first receive it.

In his encyclical On the Dignity and Vocation of Women, Pope St. John Paul II explains that women must strive to imitate Mary in every way, especially in being "full of grace.” John Paul II said that Mary literally embodied that statement as grace is the life of God in our soul and she held the life of God physically in her womb. She then gave Him to the world.
John Paul II encourages women to receive the gift of God’s life and love within them and then give that life and love to their children and to the world. In a mystical way, he explains, women have a natural receptivity to God’s love. Women are made to be better receivers of God’s love. If women can embrace their womanly gifts and be open to His love, they can bring God’s love to the people around us in a profound way.

7. Motherhood is not limited to physical children; it is the vocation of every woman!

At the foot of the cross, Jesus gave his mother to the world and entrusted all of God’s people to her. Here Mary teaches us that motherhood is not limited to our physical children. Every woman is called to motherhood. John Paul II said that a woman’s womanhood is who she is but her motherhood is her mode of being in the world. As women live out their authentic womanhood in the world, they are living out their vocation of motherhood.
Let every woman rejoice and celebrate her motherhood in following the example of our Blessed Mother during this beautiful month of May!

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Lesson in Love – Redemptive Childbirth – No, It’s Not What You Think!

We have a new son! He is already three weeks old on the day I write this. I usually share my birth story within a week or two, but this one was more difficult to write because it took such a long time to process it … in fact, in many ways, I am still processing it.

How do I tell this story when there are so many aspects (so many past moments) that weave into it? So, let me just start and see where the story leads me… As many of you know, this is my sixth child birth. My husband and I were very proud parents of five sons and we had waited to find out if this child was a boy or a girl. (As a side note, although there was a sense of adventure and fun in not finding out, both my husband and I now agree it is much better to find out! At least, it is for us. But that’s another story …)

April 2, 2015 - 7lb14oz, 20in

During this pregnancy, I had a great deal of anxiety about the impending childbirth. It wasn’t rational; it just came upon me like little panic attacks that escalated. Of my 5 births before, only one was an excruciating experience. The first was difficult, but seeing my first baby the pain magically erased. The second was a piece of cake. The fourth was labor but not too difficult and the fifth was everything I imagined natural labor could be. It was intense, but beautiful and euphoric.

It was the birth of our third son that taunted me. My doctor feared preeclampsia, so had me induced at 37 weeks, 6 days. Usually breaking of the water works to set my body in motion, but not that time. They began pitocin. It was bearable at first, but just awful in the end. I did it, non-medicated, but compared to the other four labors (where pitocin wasn’t needed), it was torturous. (The contractions are harsher, without a natural rise and fall. My body felt it for weeks.) And it was the memory of this experience that would awaken me in the night during this last pregnancy – with my heart racing and head sweating.

A friend counseled me, during a week of many anxiety battles; she said I should ask God for a redemptive childbirth. That the experience of the birth itself would be a witness of God’s love. You would pray that you may join your suffering to the sufferings of Christ and that the pain be experienced would be a witness of love. This friend sang through her labor and said how much it helped, because she too was suffering from too much knowledge of labor. (If we could only erase certain moments from our mind, to approach it anew!)

So, I began to pray for God to take my memories and keep me at peace. As my rheumatoid arthritis began to show its ugly head and bite into my body in the last weeks of pregnancy, I was tempted to ask for early induction – just to bring an end to the pain! In the end, I waited. I chose to accept the pain (pain that even compromised my ability to walk) and wait on my body to be ready. “Go the full 40!” was ringing in my mind.

At 40 weeks and 5 days, and through consultation with my doctor and husband (and the RA becoming ever more debilitating), we all decided it would be best to go in to be induced. It was Holy Thursday. Usually, it only takes the breaking of the water or prepping the cervix to get my body to take over; that is what we assumed would happen. I was ready, armed with a “power and strength” playlist and an intercessory prayer list. We got settled into the room and that’s when the adventure really started.

As my doctor was attempting to break my water, there was some confusion as to whether or not it had broken. What usually is a quick, less than a minute procedure, was lasting quite some time. (She was getting a little frantic herself and kept apologizing for torturing me.) And for those of you mamas who know what it feels like, know how the sudden flashes of pressure and pain kept causing me to get light headed and nauseous. Finally she just couldn’t get it and gave up and yet, as I sat up, the water gushed – she had succeeded after all.

As I tried to recover from that craziness, I attempted to start walking – to get baby moving into position and get contractions going. Yet, after every few steps, I would get dizzy again and start seeing spots. This went on for a couple hours and then they needed me back on the bed to give a dose of antibiotics and fluids (to try to help with the light-headedness). After another hour or so, my doctor came back in and my cervix had not progressed. Then came the terrible words, slamming down on my ears and heart,

“We’ll have to start pitocin. It’s now inevitable.”

I was crushed. And my heart began to race and I could feel my anxiety rising. I asked everyone to leave, so my husband and I could speak privately. We spoke about what it meant to take the pitocin and the awful experience I had previously and then, the possibility of getting an epidural along with it. He supported me in whatever I chose to do. He reassured me that I didn’t need to prove anything to anyone, but that I needed choose what would be best for me and baby.

When the doctor returned, I explained that if we had to use pitocin, then I would like the epidural as well. She said that she was about to suggest it and thought that was the most excellent decision. She hates having to use pitocin since it makes labor so awful; getting the epidural with it was, in her mind, the best decision I could make … then why did I feel like I had just given up?

After both those were in and going, I was a little lost. I kept asking the nurse, “what should I be doing?” She would laugh and say, “relax or nap!” I’d just shake my head; it was so surreal. After five unmedicated labors, this was just so strange. Emotions were raging in my head – I have always been engaged in my labors (with every fiber of my being), but here it was like I was watching from a distance – disconnected – lost. I felt numb and weirdly sad. When it was time to push, I couldn’t feel a thing. I knew what to do only because of experience; a few pushes and baby was born!

It was a boy! My husband said “It’s our Anthony!” But of course I had to check for myself … thinking “really? 6 boys? what are the odds!” He was beautiful. But I had to shake my head; without enduring labor, I felt like I had cheated at the test and still got an A.

The mixed emotions continued after Anthony and I came home. I did feel a little like a failure for asking for the epidural. I thought I would have a redemptive childbirth and I felt like I just skipped over it all together. Easter Sunday, our first full day at home, so Anthony and I stayed home while my amazing husband took the other five to Mass.

Alone in the house, I nursed Anthony as the sunlight streamed across the floor. I prayed. Then it hit me. A revelation like a lightning bolt to my soul – this was redemptive childbirth! I wanted to participate, to show I could do it, to flash my supermom cape, but that’s not what redemption is about! Redemption is not our doing at all! Redemption is God’s work, which we can accept or not. It’s about our humility. I walked away from this childbirth humbled; it wasn’t what I expected and I didn’t even have the “I am woman, hear me roar” flag to wave from making it through natural labor. I didn’t know what others might think since I couldn’t do it this time. It was indeed humbling. And, yet, at that moment in prayer, I realized the profound lesson of love and gift that humility was! Christ gave everything for us and his love is not conditional! What we need to let go of is our pride. I asked God for a redemptive childbirth and He granted me an experience where I had to lay everything down – everything.

Thank you, Lord, for my weakness! Thank you for the gift and blessing of another amazing son – to be the mother of six boys is a unique blessing itself. Lord, make me worthy of such a task!

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

oldest & youngest - #heartmelt

Monday, March 30, 2015

We are the Easter People and Hallelujah is Our Song

(my article, originally published for the April 2015 issue of The Courier.)

It was during his visit to Croatia in 1994, when Pope John Paul II boldly proclaimed, “Do not abandon yourself to despair. We are the Easter people and Hallelujah is our song.” St. John Paul II taught us many things, but persevering in hope despite suffering or challenging surroundings was one of his most pervasive lessons. From the moment he began his pontificate, he declared, “do not be afraid!”

As we approach Holy Week and focus on the gift of selfless love that is the Holy Cross, the task of taking in the enormity of our Lord’s sacrifice can be overwhelming. So much so that we may dismiss it before it has a chance to reach our inner most being. We have heard the story before, like a familiar bedtime tale. We yawn, we smile, and cheer for our Savior. The pain can feel too much, too deep, too raw if we really meditated on the Cross; it’s easier to go through the motions and move right to the chocolate eggs … oh, I mean, the empty tomb.

For in the eyes of the world, the Cross is ridiculous. It is suffering; it is hardship; it is pain. And in many eyes, it is needless pain. Our world continues to do everything it can to rid itself of any type of suffering. For the world, suffering is discouraging, despairing, unbearable. Indeed, John Paul II taught us that without Christ, suffering is hell. Yet, God does not operate with the world’s eyes. God sees eternity. God sees the effects of evil on the world: sin and eternal death.

God is so great, so powerful, so loving, that He has taken suffering, Satan’s greatest tool of despair, and used it to bring eternal hope. For it was only through suffering that Christ redeemed the world. God conquered eternal suffering with Christ’s suffering on the Cross. Through this one act of selfless love, this one act of giving of Himself to us – wholly, completely, forever – our Bridegroom won victory over sin and death.

Focusing on the depth of Love that is the crucifixion of Christ, it should not send us into a miserable state of pain, but a soul bearing humility. To stand before the One who holds nothing back from you, the One who gives you all of His Love without any conditions, without any judgment, it is His great Love that makes us vulnerable, open and calls us to holiness – if we let it.

It is not the pain of the Cross that overwhelms us, but the Love of it. We are not accustomed to such love, such vulnerability. We can take care of ourselves; we can figure it out. We don’t need to depend on another. We’ve got the American spirit! We can accomplish anything! And yet, we cannot accomplish our own salvation. We don’t like to admit when we are weak, vulnerable and need help. Yet, in order to be saved, in order to grow in holiness that is exactly what we need to do. And it is before the Cross that this profound transformation of humility of our soul can take place.

Yet, the Cross is not the end! It is only the beginning! Jesus rose from the dead solidifying His victory and winning for us God’s eternal life, if we but accept His Word. He gave us the Holy Spirit to build His life in our hearts. As St. John Paul II reminded us, we need not fear. We need not fear temporary suffering, challenges, persecutions nor death, for the eternal victory has been won for us! We live in hope because of Easter Sunday! The song of Hallelujah should ring from our hearts every day of our life despite our trials! For we have been saved; we have been forgiven; we have been eternally loved.